I am really enjoying watching the Rick Stein India series on BBC at the moment. Although I love cooking I have never really enjoyed watching cookery programmes, but this is different as I am enjoying learning a little bit about the culture. I would love to visit India but I always thought I needed more than a couple of weeks to enjoy and appreciate the hustle and bustle, as I realised when I lived in Bangkok for a month. The longer I stayed, the more I noticed and fell in love with the city and the people.
Having spent 3 months travelling Thailand, I am a big fan of Thai food, the hotter and spicier, the better!. Most of my meals whilst travelling (including breakfast) were eating with the locals at the market, which in my experience was where you found the most amazing and unusual food. I did however draw a line at sampling the deep fried bugs on offer, but I did try a lot of the vegetarian and seafood dishes.
I used to spend hours wandering round looking at the amazing colourful dishes, taking in the variety of smells, and people watching whilst enjoying the delicious food. My favourite dish, which was made fresh everytime in a big free standing mortar and pestle, and served in a plastic sandwich bag, is Som Tum, a green papaya salad.
India is my next big stop, but I also want to take the girls to Thailand when they are older and they can appreciate the differences in our cultures.
When I do eventually return, I hope to sign up to a cookery course, the one thing I did not get a chance to do last time I was there, but in the meantime my husband bought me an amazing book, Thai Food by David Thompson, to practice with. Some of the recipes are a bit fussy and the ingredients are hard to find, so I have not done as many as I would like to have done. But the ones I have done, such as the coconut squid, are delicious and if nothing else the book is great for the pictures and an excellent reference book.